Raw Sense

AS A VEGAN, one of my mottos is: ‘The more raw food I eat, the more I want to eat raw food,’ but I’ve occasionally been a touch dismissive of the concept of going fully raw.

DR-SaladThere just didn’t seem to be an overwhelming reason to go all the way. After all, getting a decent amount of raw food in my diet seems to work for me and I still get to eat Indian food, Thai, Sushi, etc. The local Thai restaurants are a firm favourite with their huge plates of stir-fries, which are loaded with delicious, barely cooked veggies.

However, the last few months have made me wonder if I’m way off track and need to move to high-raw or even fully raw. In summer, I was eating loads of salad, as in A LOT OF SALAD. My typical dinner salad fills a big bowl, sometimes even a mixing bowl. I then take a tightly packed Tupperware of the same salad to work, so most weekdays, I’m pounding down two big salads. The weekends are generally even rawer as I get stuck into the fruit stash on top of three different salads.

But when winter hit, and hit hard, I started a long run of my toasted wraps, which are nothing more than a mess of red onion, tomato, coriander and mushroom (and sometimes tofu or chick peas) folded into a wrap with olive oil and soya sauce and then heated in a sandwich press. The veggies are only just cooked through and they’re cooked in their own juices, so that’s a pretty healthy meal, but it’s not one that translates into being portable or edible the next day. So I’ve been buying my lunches week in and week out instead of bringing in a salad (too lazy to whip up a wrap dinner and tomorrow’s salad I guess).

After a couple of months of this, I’ve become aware that I haven’t been as powered up as I usually am. I chalked it up to a combination of the winter weather and old age, but it occurred to me that my diet might have been holding me back like a racecar that’s been drinking diesel instead of race gas. So I’ve gotten back into the monster salads twice a day and after less than a week, all the cylinders are firing again – energy levels are up in every respect and I feel young again. What a difference the raw food makes.

If some raw is good, then even more raw must be better, so now the challenge is to get to a 75 percent raw diet without having to visit Revive or The Raw Power Café twice a day – both are temptingly close to work but the price difference between homemade and diner bought is fierce. So the order of the day will be more fruit, more salads and a pile of the tasty raw bars from Ceres Organics instead of muesli bars. I reckon that I’ll also have to start baking (unbaking?) my own raw snacks. It’s cookbook time!

After this experience, 60 percent raw needs to be my absolute minimum baseline. My energy levels are intense this way, so from a quality of life perspective, there’s just no arguing against it. ASHLEY KRAMER

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